Monthly Archives: October 2011

Thinking of Eating Meat Causes Antisocial Behavior?

One of the faculty members here in The Netherlands (Richard Gill) told me about this social scientist (Diederik Stapel) who long fabricated data purporting to provide evidence for things like: thinking of eating meat causes anti-social behavior.  He was only very recently fired.  My cynical question is: isn’t there enough latitude in any data purporting to provide evidence for such claims to avoid the need for outright fabrication? Continue reading

Categories: phil sci | Tags: , | 10 Comments

OPERA ERROR? or …

Driven in this rather far-out pink Hummer car rental (not my idea, but cute–takes deisel too), I quickly got to the Zurich airport.  Next stop: a workshop on error in the sciences ( Lorentz Center in the Netherlands). Now last week I’d read that there was a fairly blatant error in the statistical analysis (or in the prediction) involved in the experiments on faster-than-the speed-of-light-particles by the OPERA group (Oscillation Project with Emulsion-tRacking Apparatus), but now it appears there is back-tracking on the back-tracking.   What do readers think? Can anyone update me on this?  (Hunches ok too.)

Categories: phil sci | Tags: | 2 Comments

Playing to the Probability Poem

ISAAC CHATFIELD, COMPOSER, JAZZ GUITARIST (son)
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Probability Poetry

I am reminded it is Friday, having just gotten a Skype call from friends back at Elbar; so here’s another little contest.  Each of the following statisticians provided useful help on drafts of papers I was writing in response to (Bayesian) critics.  One of them, to my surprise, attached the following poem to his remarks:

A toast is due to one who slays
Misguided followers of Bayes,
And in their heart strikes fear and terror,
With probabilities of error!

Without looking this up, guess the author:

1)   I.J. Good
2)   George Barnard
3)   Erich Lehmann
4)   Oscar Kempthorne

The first correct guess will receive an amusing picture from “the whaler” sent from Elbar.

(Note:  The author wanted me to note that this poem was to be taken in a jocular vein. )

Song Corresponding to Poem

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ELBA GREASE

In exile from exile, I sort of miss one of the places my Island friends would insist I accompany them to on Friday nights: a watering hole called the “Elbar Room” which serves up a wonderful sour drink called “Elbar Grease” (I am serious)—it is like drinking straight lemon which for some reason I‘ve always liked (GW says I may be missing a gene). Anyway it’s some kind of sparkling wine with extremely sour lemon liquor and nectarines. The shiny military brass barstools alone make the place interesting. Sadly, I don’t know when I can return just yet. Continue reading

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